Retool

Everything can be changed! Done for many reasons, ranging from poor ratings to someone leaving the show to network fiat, but basically means everything (premise, casting, setting, tone, writing, general emphasis) can be "tweaked" to take the show in a different direction, which can result in some Early Installment Weirdness. Not everything changes; some retools are subtle, some not so much. Drastic retooling runs the risk of alienating the current viewership ("change is bad!"), if any.

Many examples of retooling come between a show's pilot and the episodes made after the series is picked up. Others happen when a show isn't really getting off the ground or is in decline and the creators want to shake things up (which can lead to Jumping the Shark if done poorly and viewers realize they are running out of ideas). When done out of nowhere in the middle of the show, then you've got yourself a Wham Episode. A retool may also be the result of a Post-Script Season; the series ends up going in a strange new direction because all the prior conflicts were already resolved, and new ones need to be invented.

In many cases a retool is needed because as it existed previously, there might have been very little room for characters to grow or that the established rules hindered creative stories. In some cases, when the retool is so drastically different, you are asked to accept what came before in Broad Strokes. Quite frequently, a retool will include one (or more) Tone Shifts.

The most extreme form of retool is the Continuity Reboot.

See also: Retcon, Revision, Rewrite.


Examples:

  • Live-Action TV has its own page due to the sheer number of examples.

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • Pokémon
    • Major retooling for the anime began after the Johto saga, when Ash would leave most of the Pokémon he carried with him at Professor Oak's and travel to the new region with just Pikachu. This is meant to create room on his team for Pokémon from the latest generation of games. The Hoenn saga would also introduce a secondary plot where Ash's female companion who's also a player character in the games would compete in competitions that are different from Ash's usual badge quest.
    • They did it once more for Best Wishes by having Ash catch more than six Pokémon at a time and putting them into rotation.
    • In addition, they made Team Rocket far more threatening than in previous sagas where they were everyone's Butt Monkeys. Although this didn't really stick for later sagas and they're back to being comic relief characters. Similar to Ash, their Pokémon apart from Meowth (and Wobbuffet from X and Y onwards) are also deposited at the Team Rocket headquarters to free up space for new Pokémon.
    • Sun and Moon has had the most drastic change to the anime. Due to gyms not existing in Pokémon Sun and Moon, instead of traveling from town to town challenging gyms with 2 or 3 companions following his journey, Ash attends a Pokémon School with several classmates and he is also competing in the Island Challenges that's unique to Sun and Moon.
  • After five years of success, Dragon Ball was completely retooled in 1989: The series became much more focused on fighting 24/7, several of the past characters had their roles reduced or were outright dropped, the series gave bigger spotlights to some of the current supporting characters while often shifting Goku to the background at times, and added a much more sci-fi feeling by revealing that Goku and Piccolo Jr. are both aliens. It's not surprising that these changes in the manga were what led to the anime being renamed Dragon Ball Z
    • Done subtly before that with the Time Skip in the Piccolo Junior Saga. Everyone has a growth spurt or new look. Also the main characters make prominent use of Ki Attacks during the World Martial Arts Tournament, while before only they were mostly last resort trump cards. Essentially, it was proto-Dragon Ball Z.
    • Arguably, this shift began even earlier with the King Piccolo saga, with the story becoming far darker in tone, more focus being placed on defeating the main villain than gathering the Dragon Balls, and The Hero requiring a power-up to defeat said villain. In particular, this portion of the series heavily resembles the eventual Namek/Freeza saga, which is often considered the defining part of Dragon Ball Z (if only because of how long it was).
    • The series first experienced a massive shift after the very first arc. The first storyline was a comedic adventure with episodic stories and more of an ensemble cast. After the first summoning of Shenlong the story switches gears, becoming a more straightforward action story with the focus being almost entirely on Goku, a format the series stuck with until the very end. Looking back it's almost hard to believe Bulma, Oolong and Yamcha were major characters.
  • The original IGPX miniseries was a mecha combat tournament. The actual series is a racing anime.
  • The original anime adaptation of Ranma ˝ originally lasted for eighteen episodes and aired on Fuji TV, but was canceled due to low ratings. The show's crew regrouped, gave the show a retool (most notably, the boys in Ranma's school now are completely oblivious to his transformation into a girl, whereas in the manga, they were fully aware) and relaunched it one month later as ''Ranma 1/2: Netto-hen", which proceeded to last for 143 episodes, two movies and a number of OVAs.
  • Go! Princess Pretty Cure is essentially a massive retooling of the Pretty Cure franchise after Happiness Charge Pretty Cure and Doki Doki Pretty Cure. While it was still a team of girls fighting the forces of evil with magic powers, they pared back the setting to a simple school setting, made the villains credible threats without relying on Deus ex Machina or Diabolus ex Machina-related ploys and effectively scuttled quite a number of tropes along the way.
  • Played with and subverted in Black Butler. The first season had a very conclusive ending: Ciel dies and Sebastian, as per their contract, devours his soul. The first episode of season two introduces us to the Earl Trancie, a rich brat with a very similar backstory to Ciel, and his Hypercompetant Sidekick of a butler, Claude. The deception goes far enough to include a new opening sequence focused on them just for this episode. Then just as viewers are starting to think that this isn't the same series they liked so much, a mysterious stranger with an oddly familiar voice shows up at Trancie's front door...
  • Tonko House is currently planning on getting the new Netflix series "Komaneko" green-light which is a different continuity to the original Japanese stop-motion series from 2009.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure underwent several, with Battle Tendency switching the series from a melodramatic action-horror manga to a self-aware action-based dramedy and Stardust Crusaders changing the format from arc-based journeys to a Monster of the Week manga with overarching plots each arc, as well as better balancing out the comedic and dramatic portions.

     Comic Books  
  • The Astérix album Astérix and the Falling Sky completely shifted the focus, theme and and tone of the series, transforming a historical comedy into a science fiction pop culture reference smorgasbord.
  • Marvel Universe heroine Patsy Walker has gone through numerous retools. Started out as an Archie-style teen comedy, moved over into more straight romance, became a superheroine named Hellcat, became Darker and Edgier, and now is... Just weird. And Awesome. Note that all of that stuff is still technically in-continuity.
  • By 1970, X-Men was an unpopular series that was reduced to reprinting old material. 5 years later, after getting a new writer, putting most of the old team on a bus (temporarily) in favor of other characters, and dedicating as much time to Character Development as fights, the series picked up a great many new fans.
  • The New Avengers:
  • The Marvel Comics series Thunderbolts has always fundamentally had the same premise (a super hero team (that term used loosely) comprised of villains). However, the exact nature of the team has been changed several times, amazingly with the series lasting over 150+ issues only once being canceled and relaunched once.
    • Originally, Thunderbolts centered around a team of heroes that were actually Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil in disguise working to gain the public's trust so they could easily overtake them.
    • Eventually, the team (those that decided to reform and be actual heroes) came under the leadership of Hawkeye up until a short period where all the previous story lines were abandoned and the book was made into a super hero fight club. Shortly after that it was cancelled.
    • It was brought back soon after around the time of New Avengers' release with a cast featuring some new characters as well as old ones until the Marvel crossover event Civil War.
    • During and after Civil War the team consisted of more popular villains like Green Goblin, Venom, and Bullseye working as "hero hunters" for the pro-registration side to capture anti-registration superheroes.
    • During Dark Reign most of the hero hunter team became the Dark Avengers and the Thunderbolts became Norman Osborn's personal hit squad.
    • After Dark Reign and at the onset of Marvel's Heroic Age the Thunderbolts became super villain prison The Raft's rehabilitation program for super criminals (this time including Man-Thing, Juggernaut, and Ghost among others), under the supervision of Luke Cage. Basically Marvel's answer to the Suicide Squad.
    • With #175, the title got renamed to Dark Avengers with characters from the second incarnation of the Dark Avengers joining the cast, still under the leadership of Luke Cage.
    • Marvel NOW!: the Raft program got shut down, Red Hulk took the Thunderbolts name for his black ops squad of antiheroes (a Shout-Out to his own secret identity), and the Dark Avengers found themselves independent once again.
    • All-New, All-Different Marvel: After the events of Avengers Standoff, most of the original Thunderbolts reunite with the Winter Soldier as their new leader.
  • The Defenders went through this several times:
    • It started off as a book with a fluid, non-committal roster usually anchored by the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, Namor, and the Silver Surfer. At issue #125, the title was renamed The New Defenders and the roster was changed to a more official, government-sanctioned team consisting of Beast, Angel, Iceman, Gargoyle, Valkyrie, and Moondragon. Writer J.M. DeMatteis quickly left the title after realizing he'd sacrificed the book's more quirky, offbeat tone in favor of making it into another run of the mill Avengers clone.
    • The title was revived in the 90's as The Secret Defenders, which featured a revolving door Heroes Unlimited cast.
    • In 2013 it was relaunched as Fearless Defenders, an all-female team anchored by Valkyrie and Misty Knight.
  • In the pages of Superman during 1971, an experimental "Kryptonite-Engine" made to provide cheap electrical power malfunctions, causing all the Kryptonite on the planet to become ordinary iron. Meanwhile, Clark Kent became a TV news reporter while an Evil Twin of Superman made of sand drained him of some of his powers. You can read the full saga here. After the entire story is resolved, the series's new direction was quickly lost and more Kryptonite arrives from space, the only holdover from the storyline (until Crisis on Infinite Earths) being that Clark works at a television news station.
  • By 1968, the Metal Men were among the Denser and Wackier of DC Comics' output. That all changed in Metal Men #33, which began a Story Arc where the team could not control their increased powers and find themselves hunted by humans, who turned against them. It came to a head in #37, where the Metal Men were finally apprehended and left for dead in a junkyard. Mister Conan salvaged them and gave them human identities so they could continue to help the world in secret.
  • In the wake of Johnny Storm's death the Fantastic Four has undergone a (probably) temporary change with them becoming the Future Foundation. This has involved them donning black and white uniforms, adding Spider-Man to the team to replace Johnny, who had specifically named his old pal Spidey for the position in his will, bringing Doctor Doom and Mister Fantastic's time traveling father along for the ride and becoming a sort of superhero think tank. Thus far the new series has been well received.
    • In the late-1980s, Steve Engelhart tried to spruce things up with the 'NEW' Fantastic Four, with Reed and Sue Put on a Bus and replaced with Crystal and the second Ms. Marvel.
  • DC's New 52 relaunch has one foot in the Continuity Reboot camp and another in the retool camp. Some characters got retold origins and backstories (Superman had his early days retold, with him now being the first superhero in the DCU) while others simply got a change to the status quo (Bruce Wayne was the only Batman again, with Dick Grayson going back to Nightwing and Damian remaining as Robin).
    • The DC Rebirth relaunch is primarily a retool with some retconning, moving away from the New 52's Darker and Edgier approach and aiming to give the DCU some direction and history again.
  • The "Batgirl of Burnside" revamp for the New 52 Batgirl series. Long story short, a new creative team took over the book and instantly gave it a Lighter and Softer tone, with Barbara moving to a trendy new neighborhood and becoming a hipster. She was also redesigned to have a more practical costume, which went over big with female readers. The book's success inspired a lot of imitators, with various other heroes suddenly getting similar makeovers and We're Still Relevant, Dammit! plot elements.
  • X-Factor started off as a reunion book featuring the original five Silver Age X-Men, initially masquerading as mutant hunters for hire but eventually dropping the act to become just an offshoot of the X-Men. In the 90's, it was retooled into a government-sanctioned team of mutant superheroes lead by Havok. Peter David later relaunched the title again in 2005 as a Noir detective title consisting of a bunch of former X-Force and Generation X members and led by Multiple Man, a veteran of the government team. It was ReTooled again in 2014 as part of the Marvel NOW! event, with the book now focusing on a team of Corporate Sponsored Superheroes.
  • Titans was originally a superhero book about the now-adult former members of the New Teen Titans. During Brightest Day, the concept was completely revamped, and the book ended up becoming about a team of Anti-Hero mercenaries lead by Deathstroke. When it was relaunched for DC Rebirth, it went back to its original concept.
  • The Punisher spent the better part of the late eighties and the first half of the nineties killing every kind of criminal on the planet. After he was brainwashed and supposedly killed Nick Fury in the Over the Edge event, he was sent to the electric chair at the start of his new series, only to be revealed that his death was faked by the Geraci family, who made Castle their new don. He still continued fighting criminals, but now at his "family's" interest.
    • This was followed by another retool, where Castle became an Empowered Badass Normal with weapons from Heaven.
      • Then got retooled when Ennis took over and handwaved the Heaven Arc and made Frank Castle a badass normal again, followed by a back to basics approach.
  • Tomahawk had two retools towards the end of its run. First, the comic was changed from "hey kids isn't Davy Crockett cool?" to "the Howling Commandos in the Revolutionary War", with Tomahawk gaining a colorful supporting cast and a direct affiliation with the Continental Army. After about five years of that, the book (retaining the same title and numbering) jumped forward some 40 years and focused on Tomahawk's son Hawk, with the still-living Tomahawk being Hawk's mentor/sidekick. "Hawk, son of Tomahawk" didn't last too long, as the book was canceled within a year of Hawk's introduction.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: Mortadelo and Filemón originally had a private detective agency and were a parody of Sherlock Holmes and Watson (the comic's original title was "Mortadelo y Filemón - Agencia de Información"), not the James Bond parody they eventually became. As a relic of that time, Mortadelo still calls Filemón "Boss", despite they don't seem to have much different responsabilities in the T.I.A.
  • Green Arrow started off as a campy Batman wannabe, but during the 1970's he was reimagined as a more liberal, street-level hero with a social justice slant. He began crusading against societal injustices and became an advocate for victims of oppression, often with a decreased focus on the bigger, more bombastic threats he used to face in the pages of Justice League of America.
    • The New 52 Green Arrow volume underwent one as well. The first year or so of the title brought the character back to his Batman-ish roots and had an increased emphasis on the Crime Fighting With Cash aspect. After this move was widely panned, Jeff Lemire took over the title at issue #17 and removed all of the corporate and high-tech trappings in favor of a Darker and Edgier street level feel.
  • The Detroit-era Justice League of America. Basically, Justice League wasn't as popular as it'd been in its heyday, so Gerry Conway got rid of most of the heavy hitters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman in order to focus on a younger, more diverse team of new characters like Vixen, Gypsy and Vibe. He was hoping to ape the success of the New Teen Titans and the X-Men, but it went over about as well as you'd expect. Thankfully, its failure did lead to the Justice League International revamp.
  • Archie Comics:
    • Josie and the Pussycats began as a comic called She's Josie' (shortly afterward it was called simply 'Josie'). It was basically a Distaff Counterpart of Archie. When Hanna-Barbera asked the Archie company for another group to mimic the success of The Archies (and, more importantly, the success of the hit song from said cartoon "Sugar, Sugar), Josie suddenly shifted into being defined by her existence in a band. Best friend Pepper was dropped, Black Best Friend Valerie was added, and the focus of the feature became "traveling band" instead of a regular teens in high school. All for make the upcoming cartoon more "accessible".
      • The cartoon itself was retooled for its second season - they went into outer space.
    • Several over the Sabrina the Teenage Witch series' comic book run:
      • A new "Sabrina" comic series was introduced shortly after the debut of the 1996 live-action sitcom. This series ran for 32 issues, between 1997 and December 1999. The new series incorporated elements from the live-action sitcom, including modernized fashions and appearances for the aunts, and Salem's personality and backstory.
      • Starting in January 2000, Archie rebooted the series from #1, this time based upon the 2000 animated series (the final issue of the 1997-1999 series had acted as a transition between the two adaptations). This new title was simply titled Sabrina and lasted for 37 issues; issue #38 acted as a transition issue, as the series was retitled Sabrina The Teenage Witch and resumed the conventional high school setting. However, elements of the live-action sitcom (Salem's backstory, the modernized appearances of Hilda and Zelda) were retained, along with the name of Sabrina's hometown (Greendale) from the animated series being incorporated into the comics.
      • Again in 2004, with issue #58, the comics were taken over by Tania del Rio with her manga-inspired art and design style. Concurrent with this, the comic ceased to be connected to either the live-action or animated series. The comics were then released featuring new characters and a slightly more serious, continuity-heavy plot. The manga Sabrina story wrapped up at issue #100 in 2009, albeit with a few unresolved subplots.
    • Katy Keene had two revivals, each retooling the story their own ways.
    • Thanks to a heaping dose of Screwed by the Lawyers, Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog underwent a major retooling, returning the series to its game roots and jettisoning 20 years of Kudzu Plot, Romantic Plot Tumor and many other problems.
  • Gail Simone got her hands on Red Sonja under Dynamite's control and promptly jettisoned most of the character's backstory. This scrapped the most problematic sexual elements of Sonja's past and set her free to wander the earth as an errant swordfighter.
  • Batwing started off as a series about the exploits of the Batman of Africa. After 18 issues, it suddenly got retooled into a series about the adventures of the son of longtime Batman ally Lucius Fox.

    Fan Fic 

     Film 
  • The Star Trek franchise features several notable film examples:
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan retooled the franchise after the mediocre results of the first movie, by bringing back a classic villain and retooling Starfleet as more naval-oriented than it was portrayed in the original series.
    • Star Trek: First Contact radically redesigned the Borg in many ways. The most obvious one is cosmetic, they looked like they were being rotted out from the inside whereas their prior makeup was pale guys in armored suits. They then established the idea of the Borg Queen, because without a leader they are really just slightly more difficult zombies. Then it showed that they assimilate people en masse as well as technology, whereas in the TNG "Best Of Both Worlds" it was suggested that Picard was a one-time deal. And lastly, partially because of the existence of the Queen, they are shown to have a much greater sense of tactics and strategy that allow them to attempt the Time Travel plot, before becoming overconfident in their malevolence. But there is a reason First Contact is considered the best TNG movie.
    • The 2009 Star Trek retooled the entire franchise after the dismal box office results of Star Trek: Nemesis. The focus was changed to a different timeline following the (now changed because of Romulan influence) adventures of the crew from the original series.
  • The Rocky series was retooled in the third movie to be more action-oriented and contain less drama. The fifth film went back to its roots. The sixth film made over a decade later went for drama of a more realistic sort.
  • Batman:
    • After Batman Returns came under fire from parents, watchdog groups, and merchandise-tie-in companies such as McDonald's for being considerably darker, more violent, sexual and disturbing than its 1989 predecessor (as well as not even getting remotely close to equaling its box office intake), director Tim Burton as well as star Michael Keaton and composer Danny Elfman left the series. In their place for the Lighter and Softer (as well as brighter) third movie, Batman Forever came Joel Schumacher, Val Kilmer and Elliot Goldenthal respectively.
    • And after this direction proved disastrous in the follow-up film, Batman & Robin, the series lay dormant for eight years until a Continuity Reboot retooled the series again, putting as much distance as possible between the Batman franchise and the embarrassment that Joel Schumacher had turned it into, resulting in Christopher Nolan's darker, more realistic, and more grounded Batman Begins, which became the first of a trilogy, The Dark Knight Saga, that is praised as a return to form for the series.
  • Planet of the Apes: Starting with the third movie Escape from the Planet of the Apes, the franchise switched from following human characters in the far future to ape characters in the present or immediate future. Burton's remake attempted to return to the astronaut protagonist, but after its poor reception, the series went back to ape protagonists with the Rise of the Planet of the Apes reboot.
  • After G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra scored at the box office but received harsh reviews from fans and critics, the studio wanted to do a full-on Continuity Reboot. They settled for a sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which had a Darker and Edgier tone and a mostly-new cast of characters. Most of the original cast had A Bridge Dropped On Them off-screen, Baroness was Brother Chuck'd, and Duke was killed off so that focus could shift to Roadblock (played by Dwayne Johnson).

    Literature 
  • In-universe in Bubble World. Late in the book, Bubble World is retooled into Bright Planet, which focuses properly on education—to an extent.

    Magazines 
  • After nearly four decades as a knockoff of MAD, Cracked morphed into a "lad mag" akin to FHM or Maxim. This retool was short-lived and the magazine died soon afterward, only to be revived online as the list-heavy humor site it is now.
  • The British magazine heat launched as an entertainment-focused, hipper alternative to the Radio Times. Although this was well-received, it didn't do well commercially. A series of quick makeovers saw it repositioned as a more downmarket, gossip and soap/reality-celebrity focused publication aimed mainly at women, and it's now one of the UK's biggest-selling magazines.

     Multiple Media  
  • BIONICLE:
    • LEGO attempted this in '09, with the Bara Magna saga. The story was moved to a new planet with completely new characters belonging to entirely new races. The line lost many of its signature traces, such as Kanohi Masks and elemental-powers (although the Elemental Nation-setting stayed), the new characters were mostly organic as opposed to mostly robotic, and due to LEGO's newer violence policies, the fights became actually gory. Yet, the retool failed: not only did all these new ideas come too suddenly, the story got tied back to the original within half a year, with the introduction of Mata Nui (the former Big Good) as the new protagonist. Now, the basic idea was to have him back as the focus of the rest of the new story, until the Grand Finale which would bring both the old and new stories to a close some years later. But Mata Nui brought with him way too much continuity way too early, which alienated new fans. Meanwhile, all the Retcons and needless explanations brought about upset some old fans. The line was canceled in 2010 with a very haphazard ending, although LEGO was reluctant to let it last beyond 2009.
    • The original Kanohi Masks were designed to be the collectible aspects of the toys, and in the story they could be merged to form a "Golden Kanohi" which held the powers of all the ones collected before. After the Mata Nui Saga ended, the collectable aspect faded away from Kanohi into whatever was the current macguffin of the story, eventually doing away with the "collectable" part entirely, replacing them with ammunition packs for the weapons the toys carried.
    • Each generation of Toys usually had a built-in "action" feature, beginning with the Toa Mata/Nuva's arm-swinging gimmick. These usually required a simple gear system set up and all sets in some form had a "action" feature built into them. After the Visorak saga, these were instead dropped in exchange for more posability in the sets, in turn resulting in many of the future sets following a certain "formula" (coined the "Inika" due to the Toa Inikas first using it) for builds, with whatever function being relegated into their weapons instead. While some sets got a bit creative (most notably the Barraki sets), the repetitiveness eventually caused fatique in buyers, as at that point the only interesting things about a new set was maybe one or two armor pieces and the mask/helmet.
  • Beginning with the Hero Factory 2.0 line, LEGO retooled their "Constraction" building style drastically, dubbing it CCBS (standing for Character and Creature Building System). Most of the newer figures are built around a highly articulated base-skeleton with armor panels and many accessories attaching via ball-joints, pegs or clips (instead of the usual pins and rods). Bionicle (2015) also utilized this system, though with a retool of its own: introducing a new type of mask connection and bringing back Technic-based builds and functions, but keeping the articulation and customizability of CCBS. The line's story is rebooted, however.
  • Hero Factory itself went through a retool in its final wave, when the Heroes were made into standard LEGO Minifigures that rode giant mechs and fought with huge monsters, which were actually standard-sized toys.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • Blondie was originally about a flapper and her rich boyfriends. When she married one of them, Dagwood Bumstead, he was disinherited, had to get a job, and lived a life more of the audience could identify with. On top of that, said husband essentially became the main character.
    • At least she kept top billing. Fritzi Ritz had a similar flapper theme, but was pushed to the side by her niece and the strip renamed Nancy.
  • Likewise, there was once an 80s strip called Robotman. The title character was an alien robot living with a typical middle-class family. Eventually it was retooled into Robotman and Monty; the little robot now lived with a dorky bachelor, Monty Montahue. Then Robotman himself left. Since then, the strip has been Monty, and revolves around the geek and his weird friends.
  • Barney Google moved to a place full of hillbillies, then was written out in favor of Breakout Character Snuffy Smith.
  • Beetle Bailey started out as a strip about a ne'er-do-well college student. Then, very early in the series' run, the main character joined the army, where he has been ever since.
  • When Garry Trudeau returned from his 18-month sabbatical, the main characters of Doonesbury left college (and the town the college was in) behind, got careers & families, and started aging in real-time. This caused a noticeable shift in the perspective of the strip (although its political nature never changed).
    • Although at the very beginning, the cartoon wasn't really oriented towards covering politics at all, being about the college life of its main cast and making this a double example.
  • Ditto for Funky Winkerbean. Originally a lighthearted high school strip, with the death of creator Tom Batuik's wife, the strip became darker, focusing on the hopelessness of modern life and baser sides of humanity.
  • Rick O'Shay started out as a humor comic set in the present day; after about ten years, the setting was shifted back a century, and there started being more drama and continuing storylines.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The infamous "World Entertainment Wrestling" era of FMW, which saw the company best known for this crazy violent garbage wrestlers take on a more "sports entertainment" approach, which still looked like a bunch of crazy violent garbage wrestlers to non fans but to the FMW Faithful, was both watered down in violence and in variety, as FMW boasted multiple weight classes and tag team divisions, including a strong enough women's division to go head to head with both LLPW and JPW, prior to "WEW", which favored talking and audacious angles. WEW ultimately put FMW into dormancy for thirteen years, during which time members of the roster experimented with which style was better before folding into the Apache army until it was time for FMW's proper revival, which attempted to go back to the roots.
  • After AAA broke away from EMLL and put Lucha Libre Internacional out of business, EMLL changed its name to CMLL (basically from Mexican Enterprises to World Counsel), crowned its own world champions (independent of the NWA, whose belts it still borrowed despite no longer being an official member) and sought more international partnerships.
  • All Japan Pro Wrestling's equally infamous "Puroresu Love" era(2002-12), in which the "real sport" presentation of promotion of the Japanese majors, largely losing ground on that front to Pro Wrestling NOAH, took on a more "sports entertainment" approach to its shows in an attempt to win advertisement spots, sponsors and push merchandise. Unlike WEW, which took FMW from its highest to its lowest, "Puroresu Love" actually saved All Japan, despite being as equally derided by the promotion's fans. Nobuo Shiraishi's acquisition of AJPW from The Great Muta would see yet another downturn that necessitated Jun Akiyama's hostile takeover and another retool in 2014, also shooting to return AJPW to its Giant Baba roots.
  • Jaguar Yokota left Yoshimoto Women's Pro Wrestling Jd' after coming to the conclusion the promotion wasn't going to grow any further and it was time to become a free lancer. As the promotion more or less existed for the sake of reviving Yokota's career Hidenobu Ichimaru decided it was time for a change, that being turning the whole operation into JD Star in 2003 with the goal of getting pro wrestlers noticed by film or television companies who would make them actresses and eventually crossover pop stars.
  • In 2012, the show for Booker T's PWA school was relaunched as Reality Of Wrestling. In 2014, ROW got a new television deal and started doing internet pay per view.
  • Pro Wrestling Respect, which existed mainly to showcase the Ring of Honor and SHIMMER trainees, was retooled into what was basically an extension of Chikara in 2013, "Respect" becoming part of a "Wrestling Is" family with "Art", "Awesome", "Fun", and "Cool".

     Toys 
  • In the 2010s, the Bratz line tried to rebrand itself. It was originally themed around "cool" fashionable teenage dolls and was a Hotter and Sexier alternative to Barbie. After years of being critisized for that, it was decided to tone that down and focus less on fashion and more on creativity. To quote:
    The Bratz are back and more creative than ever before! The Bratz believe in thinking for themselves, creating the things they dream of, and making every day an absolute adventure.

     Web Original 
  • Chris Bores of The Irate Gamer had another review show called The Breakfast Rant, but it was eventually retooled into I Rate the 80's in order to broaden its scope.
  • After being Uncancelled, The Nostalgia Critic changed up the format of the series: First and foremost, his movie reviews now cover any film as long as it is not in theaters. Reviews are now bi-weekly, with every other week devoted to short editorials. Also, two of Doug Walker's cast members from his series Demo Reel, Rachel Tietz and Malcolm Ray, joined the cast as regular members (although Rachel has since left to pursue other career opportunites and was replaced by her old roommate, Tamara Chambers).
  • Brad Jones' podcast The Random Button featured himself and (usually) someone else viewing and then reviewing a random obscure film off of Netflix. After a few episodes this element was dropped and the podcast was retitled Snobcast, and became just a general discussion show.
  • Allison Pregler, who hosted the Obscurus Lupa Presents for several years, retooled the show into Movie Nights. Rather than the more typical format for review videos, Movie Nights is unscripted and more discussion-based and has an actual set rather than it being in her bedroom. She has also retired the 'Obscurus Lupa' name for her videos, going just by Allison.
  • Phelous had started out doing primarily horror film reviews (though he also did video game movies here and there), but after seemingly being Killed Off for Real in the Jacob's Ladder review he shifted towards animation for the most part, with horror reviews only occasionally showing up.
  • Jimquisition

     Western Animation  
  • When Doug moved from Nickelodeon to ABC, many characters and locations were redesigned, and the show was renamed Disney's Brand Spanking New Doug. There were in-show reasons given for most of the changes.
    • This was also played with in-show, with the James Bond Ersatz "Smash Adams", who was retooled into a fat and bumbling secret agent.
  • Batman: The Animated Series underwent this for the final season, with the title changed to The New Batman Adventures. Aside from new character designs and a new art style, the show added Batgirl to the main cast, had Dick Grayson become Nightwing, and introduced a new Robin as his successor. New voices were also used for a number of characters.
  • The Batman went through a lot of trouble, living in the shadow of the above-mentioned show. The first two seasons focused on Batman's tensions with the police, and had Ellen Yin, a cop based on minor comic character Ellen Yindel, as the Deuteragonist. She proved a Base Breaker Character, so she vanished after that, save one mention. Seasons 3-4 had Commissioner Gordon take over the police and added Batgirl and then Robin to the cast. Then a second retool came at the end of season four, introducing other superheroes to the setting, so that season five often had Batman teaming up with another superhero to fight a member of that hero's Rogues Gallery. (Word of God calls that their "Justice League season.")
  • Spoofed by an ad campaign which aired between seasons of King of the Hill. The second season ended on a cliffhanger with the local Mega-lo Mart (a Wal-Mart expy) being destroyed by a propane explosion. Four characters, including protagonist Hank, were inside at the time, and FOX told viewers that one of them would die. Ads that aired throughout the summer showed viewers a "behind the scenes" disagreement between Hank and FOX, which threatened to kill him off unless he agreed to allow the show to be re-tooled by moving it to Los Angeles and retitling it "King of the Hollywood Hills." Hank refused, and eventually got his way thanks to Bobby accidentally getting a hold of some compromising photos of a FOX executive. Of course, in reality, there was no such dispute and the writers had always known from the start who they were going to kill off (Luanne's boyfriend, Buckley).
  • Spoofed on The Simpsons episode "Homer to the Max" (1999). Watching the first episode of Police Cops, Homer is thrilled to discover he shares his name with its Don Johnson-like lead character (catchphrase: "And that's the end of that chapter!"); the next week Homer is horrified to see his character retooled as a blundering doofus (catchphrase: "Uh-oh, Spaghetti-Os!"). He seeks out the show's producers and writers.
    Homer: Uh ... so, I just wanna know how come you made your Homer Simpson character so ...
    Producer: Stupid? [laughs] Well, I can assure you, it happened organically.
    Homer: It better have!
    • Another episode featured a Robocop Expy. Homer wanted to watch it before it got retooled. A couple of seconds later the robot (who was also a father) quit the force and got a job at a fashion agency.
    • Yet another episode showed that the Krusty the Klown Show used to be a serious socio-political talk show during The '60s.
    • The Simpsons themselves went from having Bart as de facto main character early on to Homer, who became more and more stupid with each season.
  • The '80s-'90s cartoon version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was retooled for its eighth season, going through significant changes in audiovisual style and tone. The episodes after the retool are commonly known in the fandom as the "Red Sky Episodes", since this was the hue the backgrounds almost invariably took. The story itself became darker, with the Shredder going from Affably Evil to total Big Bad and more threatening than ever, and the Turtles becoming wanted by the NYPD for failing to stop Shredder from blowing up the Channel 6 skyscraper.
    • In the ninth season, the series received more changes. Shredder and Krang were Put on a Bus and replaced by Lord Dregg, who would became the main villain for the rest of the series. The Turtles also got a new sidekick named Carter, and there was also a new subplot involving the mutagen, that turned them the way they are at the very beginning, going wrong, turning them into large mutant monsters.
  • Like its predecessor, the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series was eventually retooled. During its sixth season, its setting was changed from the present day to the year 2105 via accidental time travel. "Fast Forward", as the season was subtitled, featured a shift in art style (simpler) and in tone (lighter), and the abandoning of most of the show's supporting cast in favor of completely new characters. A second, milder retool occurred with the seventh season, which featured the turtles' return to present day, yet another Art Shift, and a new subtitle—"Back to the Sewer".
  • About halfway into its second season, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! got retooled to try and raise the sagging ratings by making it more like the movie. Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor (the four Avengers with solo movies in the MCU) were given increased prominence, leading to the other Avengers falling Out of Focus. The new creators also tried to minimize potential Continuity Lock-Out moments by making most of the episodes into done-in-ones, in contrast to the serialized nature of the first season.
  • Cartoon Network's acclaimed Toonami block received this in 1999, arguably for the better.
  • An In-Universe example in South Park episode "Whale Whores". When Stan Marsh takes over the Whale Wars reality show, he begins some radical actions to save whales and dolphins, but everybody sees it as just a retool of the show.
  • Pinky and the Brain was retooled into Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain after Executive Meddling forced the annoying Elmyra into the main cast.
    • An in-universe example happens when the show's ratings go down a tiny bit and the executives decide to add a few new changes to the show. Instead of a lab, they now live in a house in the suburbs with their adopted kids (one of them being an Urkel Expy) and a sassy robot. Naturally, Brain immediately quits. It's been suggested that this was written as a response to what the writers knew was coming. The network didn't get the message and the retooled series lasted five or so episodes.
  • KaBlam! got slightly re-tooled in its second season, giving new personalities to Henry and June, changing the overall look of the characters, and Art Evolution and new theme tunes for some of the shorts. Also, the jokes were less "random" than the first season.
    • The show was also briefly retooled in the fourth season. The comic book-setting was pretty much abandoned (with the exception of "turning the page", though they really couldn't get rid of that, as well as the opening and ending themes), the show's TV studio setting was more apparent, the jokes in the Henry and June segments became less random and more "mature", and most of the "classic" shorts skipped a few episodes.
  • Disney's One Saturday Morning was retooled twice. In September 2000, the original hosting segments from 1997-2000 which took place inside the One Saturday Morning building with live action hosts on the virtual set were axed, along with all the shorts which aired in-between programs (Excluding Schoolhouse Rock which ran until 2001). The new on-air bumpers would feature live-action kids playing in a park (Along with the "1" logo, and in the opening, the cast of Recess, The Weekenders (2000-2002), Teacher's Pet, Lloyd in Space (Beginning in 2001), and Teamo Supremo (2002; replacing The Weekenders), which was also used for the new version of the theme song along with said characters. The new theme song was the same as the old one, but sung by a young girl and was shortened. In 2002, shortly before the switch to ABC Kids, repeats of Disney Channel shows began airing.
    • The block was then retooled and rebranded into ABC Kids in September 2002, the same day Disney's purchase of the Fox Kids assets following their buyout of Fox Family (into ABC Family) which was included with the sale. The new motif was that the on-air bumpers had each show's characters interacting in a stadium setting. Due to the retool, every show on One Saturday Morning that weren't repeats of Disney Channel shows were quickly cancelled, with the remaining episodes of Teacher's Pet, The Weekenders, Lloyd in Space, and Teamo Supremo would be dumped off on Toon Disney. The only show to survive the block switch was Recess (Which was in reruns), due to high demand (It was the highest-rated ABC animated show, highest-rated Saturday morning cartoon, and third highest rated animated series in the late 1990s) and ABC wanting to renew the show for another season to add to the initial sixty-five episodes...which unfortunately never happened. The only new shows to premiere on the block were Fillmore! and various Power Rangers series following the purchase of the franchise. Everything else on the block were repeats of Disney Channel shows, and by the time the block came to an end in 2011, the entire lineup was made up of nothing but Disney Channel reruns.
  • In the second season of Gargoyles, the show changed its stationary New York City setting for a loooong arc following Goliath, his long-lost daughter Angela, Eliza and Bronx on a magical tour around the globe, most of whose episodes were a Poorly Disguised Pilot for some animated spin-off that were never picked.
  • Season 5 of Archer starts with ISIS being shut down by the FBI and the characters deciding to start a drug cartel. The season has even received the official nickname of "Archer Vice."
  • Hero Factory's Invasion from Below episode showed shades of this. It ignored the previously set up Cliffhanger(s), gave all the characters new voices, new designs, disregarded some of their earlier character traits, and had a new intro and closing sequence. This coincided with the toy line experiencing a retool of its own, though it was canceled after that line, along with the animated specials.
  • ChalkZone received a minor retool while it was on Oh Yeah! Cartoons, occurring between the first two shorts in 1998 and the remainder of them in 1999, and eventually into the show itself. Starting with the second season of Oh Yeah! Cartoons in 1999, Rudy was aged up from eight to ten (Word of God says this was due to Nickelodeon wanting to give the short a TV show, but requested that Rudy had to be aged up) and Penny was added as a third protagonist. Besides that, the only other difference was that the art style improved (compare Snap in the first two shorts to the rest of the shorts and the show).
  • Thomas the Tank Engine had a minor retool in Series 5 when it stopped adapting the Railway Series stories it had previously been based on. A further retool was in Series 8 when a new theme song and story format was bought in, and many characters such as Duck were dropped with no explanation.
    • In 2009, the series dropped models and created new episodes exclusively in CGI.
  • The second season of the 90s Incredible Hulk cartoon added Grey Hulk to Bruce's alternate personalities, promoted She-Hulk to co-lead, and dropped the plot point of the US military and SHIELD pursuing Bruce.
  • For its fourth season, Jake and the Never Land Pirates was retooled as Captain Jake and the Neverland Pirates. It features a revamped title sequence and look for Jake. Many of the show's signature songs have been changed or done away with entirely. There's less focus on conflicts with Hook and the gold dubloons are only even mentioned at the end of each of story, with a new Team Treasure Chest sequence. The songs in the closing credits have been dropped in favor of an entirely instrumental outro.
  • Spoofed in Teen Titans Go! where Control Freak threatens to reboot the Titans and reveals he did once before to Teen Titans. He admits that was a mistake. The Titans go on to Retool themselves to avoid this.
  • The third season of The Transformers picks up where the movie left of, meaning a good chunk of the original cast is now dead and new characters having taken their places. The series also became much more space focused, with very few episodes taking place on earth and with an noticeably lower budget in the animation department.
  • Production of the 2nd season of G.I. Joe Extreme was moved from Sunbow Entertainment to Graz Entertainment and many changes were done to the show: the live-action cold openings were replaced by Previously On recaps, the theme song was changed to be much shorter and less "extreme", continuity between episodes was stronger, the musical insert sequences were removed, the Mecha-Mooks were dropped, Ballistic was renamed "Eagle Eye" (the result of a new law banning firearm-themed names on children's shows) and slightly redesigned and the existing SKAR henchmen were sidelined (Inferno didn't appear at all, Wreckage was only in one episode, and Rampage was Put on a Bus for most of the season).
  • The third season of Nina Needs to Go had its' focus changed from potty-training to how to behave in certain situations after complaints from parents over the original format of the show teaching a bad lesson to kids.
  • Starting in season 3, Miles From Tomorrowland changes its name to Mission Force One, and the plot is changed from Miles and Loretta connecting the universe with their family to Miles and Loretta forming Mission Force One with Mirandos, Blodger, and Haruna, and protecting the universe.
  • Beginning in 2016, the purpose of the Disney Princess franchise was changed. Instead of being about helping girls live out their own princess fantasies by buying The Merch, it was given a slogan, "Dream Big, Princess", which means that the girls the franchise is aimed at will be inspired by the choices the princesses make to achieve their dreams in their respective films. This slogan now appears at the end of several commercials for merchandise, and a video explaining the retooled franchise is shown before airings of Elena of Avalor and Tangled: The Series on Disney Channel.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Retool